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Video brand storytelling

Amateur vs. Professional Video Techniques

The beauty of technological advances means just about anyone can try their hand at filmmaking. With all of the apps available, you could get out your smartphone and be oVideo camera operator, filmmaking, Super Bowl, commercialn your way. But just as thrilling as it is to have your video turn out well, it can be crushing to discover it is a dud.

This time of the year is pretty entertaining for those of us in advertising. The Super Bowl is the “Holy Grail” in our business. Many advertising campaigns make or break in one 30-second span during the game—that’s high-pressure stakes. But in reality, every 30-second spot should have that pressure simply because you want to make the right impression every time.

With today’s technology advances, there’s a more level playing field when it comes to the audio/visual equipment you can use. So what makes the difference between an amateur commercial and a professional spot? It comes down to the story.

One of the techniques I’ve noticed frequently in Super Bowl ads is using humor to sell a particular product. Does that make it memorable? It can. Does it sell the product? Debatable. If the Super Bowl commercial is part of a larger campaign or will be repeated later, the viewer already knows the punchline. Just watch some of the Doritos competition entries to see a range of humor used very well and not so well.

Another technique often used during the big game is one I think can work outstandingly well. That is the use of emotion – generating a feeling that is tied to the product. It spans age and gender. Crafting a story and using the images to elicit emotion holds up over time. I think that’s why the Budweiser Clydesdales commercials are still so viable today.

So what will move the needle for you in those 30 seconds? Humor or emotion? For us, we like emotion. We find that it motivates action. And, paired with a good deal of professional experience, attention to detail, mastery of our equipment and skilled producers, we can make every one of those 30 seconds count. It’s like the Super Bowl every day for us, and we’re ready to put our action to work for you.


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.